Fairytale Of New York

Totally not a nature photo, but I thought I would share my favorite Xmas song, which is to say, one of  only two I will listen to by choice. The other is Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” which is the only one I’ve ever heard that reflects my experience of the holiday.

But this is the only one I listen to in months other than December, just because I like it.

Color me green, or gray, or brown…

Last month, in a post about the green anole, I mentioned that it was able to change color. Anoles and chameleons are not the only color-changing animals. If you’ve ever caught a frog outdoors in cold weather and it seemed to get lighter as it warmed up in your hands, that wasn’t your imagination.

Backyard Biology has a fantastic explanation of frog skin colors and how they can change.

Back Yard Biology

Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor The ever-changeable, Gray Treefrog.  How does it do it?

Green is a popular color for frogs, and birds too, but that lovely green color doesn’t come from a green pigment as you might expect, but from the interaction of multiple layers of specialized color and light-reflecting cells in the upper layers of their skin.

Frogs have three layers of chromatophores (color-producing cells) in their skin. The deepest layer are melanophores that produce melanin pigment giving skin a brown to black color. The middle layer are iridiphores which contain no pigment but instead have mirror like plates capable of producing iridescence, or when viewed from a certain angle, reflect blue light. The most superficial layer of chromatophores are xanthophores that contain a yellow pigment.  When the middle layer of iridophores interact with the top layer of yellow-pigment containing xanthophores, you get what elementary school students have learned:  yellow paint + blue paint…

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Post All The Links!

Conveniently, the WordPress.com community is running a Blogging 101 course just as I’m starting this site, so I’m using it to help me get the blog off the ground. As a result, there will be more posts about the process of blogging in the next few weeks than there would ordinarily be. The assignment for Day 1 was writing an introduction post. Day 2 was selecting a title (and tag line, which I still need to do). And now it’s Day 3, and I’m supposed to follow 5 tags and 5 new blogs.

Of course I have interests other than wildlife photography. I write science fiction. I grow vegetables. I climb (badly) at the local rock gym. I’m always happy to find easy vegetarian recipes. And I’m not too shabby at orienteering.

But, really, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably looking for nature photos, or at least outdoors-related content, right? Okay, here are five blogs you might like:

  • Living Alongside Wildlife: What kind of snake did you just find? Email a photo to David Steen, and his commenters will happily ID it for you.
  • Eaten By Bears:  How do you enjoy the outdoors when you can’t hike? Brandon blogs about UTV-ing in the wilds of Montana.
  • Back Yard Biology: Mother and daughter bloggers photograph and write about the species they find in Minnesota.
  • Nature Has No Boss: full of beautiful wildlife and landscape photography.
  • Naturally South Australia: Barry Silkstone’s photos and essays from a part of the world I know nothing about.

Or perhaps you’d like funny stories about the mishaps scientists have in the field?

In that case, you need to go over to Twitter and check out #fieldworkfail right now. Here’s my contribution:

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